THE Irish government seems set to hold a referendum on removing
the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution and replacing it
with a more general provision covering incitement to religious
The Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, brought the proposal
to the Cabinet on Tuesday, after recommendations from a
constitutional convention some months ago which indicated that a
clear majority of its members were in favour of the change.
The convention concluded: "The issue is regarded by many of
those who made submissions as part of a much wider debate,
including the role of God and religion in the Constitution, and the
separation of Church and State."
Referendums are planned on same-sex marriage, and reducing the
voting age from 18 to 16 years, and it is understood that the
blasphemy issue will be added to the list. The referendum is likely
to take place next spring.
If, as is likely, the proposal is carried, detailed legislation
will then follow.